What I know for sure is that real love is nothing like the love stories we’re spoon fed as little girls prancing around in plastic pink high heels and crinoline princess dresses. Real love is not about vases of flowers, real love is not about a man bending down on his knee and handing you a diamond. (Not that there’s anything wrong with diamonds but I digress)
After 16 years of marriage full of more peaks and valleys than the Coney Island Cyclone (which as a Brooklyn girl born and raised I’ve ridden many a Saturday night) here are the three things I know for sure when it comes to love and commitment this valentine’s day.
#1 Marriage takes some hard-ass work. Living with another person day in and day our can be at times both exasperating and thrilling. There will be moments where you cannot imagine not having that person there to unload all your crap on- but by the same token you will have to practice restraint in your unloading technique, if you want said person to stick around for the long-run. There will also be moments of such pure unadulterated bliss too–when you realize that this person you married is your touchstone and that they are willing to hang in there with you, even when you don’t even want to be around yourself.
#2 Love and your definition of it will change over time and THAT’S OKAY. When I first met my husband I was in lust. Sure I said I was in love, but I don’t think I fully grasped the concept of my love for him at that early stage of our relationship. Even when we said our I do’s, at our wedding and I kept telling him ( and the videographer who was recording our blessed day how much in love I was) .. even then I don’t think I fully understood the term or had internalized the breadth of its definition to where I have now. 16 years later I know that my love for him is fluid and constantly being reinvented and re-imagined depending on the age and stage of our relationship. But I also know having so many shared experiences and memories does help keep our foundation of love strong. But I also know that it’s okay if our feelings fluctuate- what is most important is how we deal with these fluctuations and that we let another and our love organically take us where we need to go as individuals and couples.
#3 Having kids is a Game changer. Just when I feel like maybe having to work so hard at something just isn’t what I signed up for I see my kids and this little family unit that my husband and I worked so hard to bring to fruition. I watch my husband, as he does homework with my daughter and lets my son climb all over him, karate chop him and sit on his head and doesn’t so much as wince. He is such a hands-on dad, fully entrenched in all aspects of our kids’ lives giving them every bit of his heart on an intensely visceral level. This is marriage…this is love; it’s far more than roses, holding hands and having a permanent Saturday night date.